July 14, 2021
With job openings at a historic high – about 30% higher than they were right before the pandemic, workers are in demand.
The City of Tempe is also hiring for a variety of positions, some of which could be filled through Tempe’s BEST, a program designed to employ individuals with developmental disabilities. Watch a video.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with disabilities have a much more difficult time getting a job – those with disabilities have an unemployment rate about twice as high as those without disabilities.
Tempe’s BEST program launched three years ago to lessen that employment gap and to assist individuals with developmental disabilities who need help to get a job and advance their careers.
“Tempe’s BEST program is an asset to our community. I would highly recommend that Tempe businesses consider a similar kind of program. It benefits both those who are hired as well as providing motivated team members for the business,” said Tempe Mayor Corey Woods.
The program assists jobseekers by providing job search guidance specific to their skills, work history, and interests. After they are hired, BEST arranges for supports on-the-job needed to help ensure new employees’ success. This includes but is not limited to job coaching, on-site visits, and disability training for their immediate workgroups. The goal is to prepare them for self-sufficiency on the job before they can graduate from the program.
Not only does the BEST employee receive coaching, so do that team member’s co-workers. The University of Arizona Sonoran Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities trains city staff on ways to maximize their working relationship with their new coworkers with developmental disabilities.
It’s worth it. Tempe gets motivated employees who learn valuable skills. The community benefits from helping people reach their potential.
“Individuals with developmental disabilities hired through Tempe’s BEST program are excited about their jobs. They are productive employees,” said Max Ryser, BEST program coordinator. “We appreciate the work they provide for the City of Tempe and are happy to help them grow their careers.”
Jobs currently filled by BEST team members in Tempe include recreation program leaders, front desk staff at a multi-generational center and a part-time administrative staff position as well as custodial positions. Some positions include benefits such as health insurance and retirement.
Tempe’s BEST is funded by a grant from the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and support from the City of Tempe.